Trump deal for NYC golf course criticized

Jan. 9, 2012 at 9:21 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Real estate developer Donald Trump's 20-year deal with New York City to run a Bronx golf course is being panned by some critics who call it a sweetheart deal.

"Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park," a PGA-quality course set to open in 2014, is part of the $184 million Throggs Neck waterfront redevelopment project being financed by taxpayers, the New York Daily News reported Sunday. While Trump is to build a $10 million clubhouse, under the contract for the $97 million golf course portion of the project, he won't make any payments to the city for the first four years, and then will pay 7 percent of gross receipts, or a minimum of $300,000, in the fifth. The payment schedule will increase to 10 percent, or a minimum of $420,000, by the 16th year.

He would also control 20 percent of the weekday tee times without any Parks Department input and could close the facility for a full day with park officials' approval, effectively giving him the power to control who can golf and when, critics say.

The fee for a round of golf will be $125 on weekends, nearly triple those of nearby city courses.

"It's outrageous that the public is paying to build a championship golf course for Donald Trump," said Geoffrey Croft of watchdog group NYC Park Advocates. "We will never make back our investment."

Neighborhood feelings are mixed, the New York Post said Sunday. Those in the housing projects to the northeast would prefer a larger community park, while homeowners in riverfront communities in the southeast eagerly anticipate the course and its anticipated boost in real estate values.

WCBS-TV, New York, reported Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending the deal.

"We have to pick from whoever is willing to run a golf course," Bloomberg said. "These are not terribly profitable things, and in this day and age more golf courses are closing rather than opening across the country."

Trump said in a statement it will be a good deal for the city, radio station WNYC reported.

"For the first time New York City golfers will reap the benefits of a world class golfing experience unlike any other," his statement said.

The city's Franchise and Review Board is reviewing the Trump proposal.

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